Surgeon removes 4,100 gallstones from patient complaining of abdominal pain

A man complaining of abdominal pain was cured after surgeons removed a staggering 4,100 gallstones from his body.

It took 2.5-hours for surgeons to remove the stones from Yogesh Yeole’s gallbladder.

The stones – between 2mm and 4mm – were not visible on a CT scan, but doctors conducted emergency exploratory surgery expecting to find around 20 masses.

The operation took place at Krishna Hospital in Nashik, India, on Saturday.


Yeole, the owner of a hardware shop, having no significant previous medical history came to me with severe abdominal pain on May 25,” Dr. Amit Sharad Kele said. “We carried out sonography, CT scan, liver function test and a test to find out whether there was any inflammation of the pancreas.”

4100 gallstones removed from Yogesh Yeole entire gall bladder. See SWNS story SWSTONE; Doctors remove 4,100 stones gallstones from one man in India. A searing abdominal pain made 43-year-old Yogesh Yeole of Nashik in Maharashtra, India, rush to Krishna Hospital in the same city, where the doctors after carrying out various tests did an emergency surgery to realize that 4100 stones were occupying his gallbladder, blocking the bile flow and causing the severe pain.

The surgery lasted 2.5 hours and left doctors stunned.


“The sonography showed that a single mass was occupying the entire gall bladder, as in sonography it is difficult to distinguish between the small stones,” Kele said. “Whereas the CT scan report showed cholecystitis which is inflammation of the gallbladder.”

“However, the CT scan did not show any gallstones because they are radiolucent which means they are entirely transparent to radiation and almost entirely invisible in X-ray photographs,” he said. “We went ahead and did an emergency surgery on May 26 and were surprised to find multiple stones. Usually we get to see two to twenty stones, but here there were so many and when we counted them, it was a whopping 4,100.”

Clothes treated with ‘hot feet’ coating could keep ticks away

Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) think they can fight the scourge of tick-borne diseases  by encouraging people to douse their clothes in a chemical called permethrin.

In a new study, published today (May 24) in the Journal of Medical Entomology, researchers showed that permethrin-treated clothes can seriously mess up a tick’s stride. Stick some adult ticks on a pair of regular pants tilted at a 45-degree angle, and 100 percent of them will still be clinging on 5 minutes later. Stick adult ticks on a pair of tilted pants treated with permethrin, though, and 42.5 percent will tumble off entirely. Even those that remain get seriously messed up. The researchers found that only 25 percent of the ticks were moving normally even 24 hours after exposure.

“All tested tick species and life stages experienced irritation, the ‘hot-foot’ effect, after coming into contact with permethrin-treated clothing,” Lars Eisen, a CDC entomologist who worked on the study, said in a statement.

Permethrin isn’t a new chemical. You can already buy clothes coated in the stuff, which one manufacturer markets as repelling “mosquitoes, ticks, ants, flies, chiggers and midges” and persisting on the clothes through at least 70 rounds in the washing machine. recommends it as a treatment for lice and scabies, and states that it’s not known to be toxic to humans — though it can cause some mild irritation in some people.

Researchers said in the paper that it’s still not known how long permethrin remains effective in clothing, because all the clothes they tested were “pristine” and freshly treated. But these results do suggest real benefits to permethrin-treated socks, pants and other clothes, they said.

Ticks are responsible for a number of serious diseases, as Live Science has previously reported, including Lyme disease. And their range appears to be spreading, likely due to climate change . That means that, for scientists at the CDC, the project of stopping them is ever more urgent. 

Originally published on Live Science.

Is eating seafood the key to getting pregnant?

Couples may have an easier time conceiving if both the man and the woman eat seafood more frequently, a new study suggests.

In the study, the researchers found that couples who included more seafood in their diets had sex more often, and tended to get pregnant faster, than couples who ate less seafood.

However, the study only noted an association among seafood intake, sexual activity and fertility; it didn’t prove cause and effect.

What’s more, couples didn’t have to eat very much seafood — such as shrimp, canned tuna and salmon, among other types — to see an association between the consumption of these foods and their odds of getting pregnant. Couples in which both partners consumed two or more 4-ounce servings of seafood a week while they were trying to conceive took less time to become pregnant, and had sex more frequently, than couples who ate less seafood, according to the study, which was published online May 23 in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

The findings stress the importance of both the woman’s and the man’s diet in the time it takes them to conceive, and suggest that both partners should incorporate more seafood into their diets for maximum fertility benefits, lead author Audrey Gaskins, a nutrition researcher at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, said in a statement.

There has not been much research on the possible links between seafood and fertility, but the few studies that have investigated the relationship may have focused on the potential harms of seafood on fertility, such as exposure to mercury and other environmental chemicals that could have reproductive consequences, according to the study authors. These concerns may have led some women to shy away from eating fish when attempting to become pregnant, the researchers added.

Seafood and fertility

In the study, the researchers looked at data collected from about 500 couples in Texas and Michigan who were trying to have a baby and were not being treated for infertility. At the beginning of the study, the researchers interviewed each partner separately,  asking how often he or she had consumed seafood over the past 12 months. The participants also kept daily records of their food intake at various points during the yearlong study.

After one year, 92 percent of the couples in which both partners had consumed more than two servings of seafood a week became pregnant, compared with 79 percent of couples in which both partners had consumed two or fewer servings a week.

Although oysters have a reputation as an aphrodisiac, it’s not actually clear why seafood may influence a couple’s sexual activity and odds of becoming pregnant. It could be that the omega-3 fatty acids found in some fatty fish, such as salmon and sardines, could have beneficial effects on semen quality in men, as well as ovulation and embryo quality in women, the researchers suggested.

Still, it’s hard to know from these findings whether the observed benefits resulted from eating more seafood or from reducing the intake of other fatty foods and having a better overall diet, said Dr. Frederick Licciardi, a fertility expert at NYU Langone Health in New York City who was not involved in the study.

Although fish is a very important part of a healthy diet, it’s too early to say that couples who eat more seafood will see changes in their fertility outcomes, he said.

One major weakness of the study is that it didn’t take into account the fertility history of the men and women, Licciardi told Live Science. For example, women in the study who consumed more seafood and got pregnant faster tended to be slightly older, on average, than women who ate less fish.

Older women may be more likely to have other children, which suggests that they have a proven fertility history, Licciardi noted. That could explain why it took these couples less time to become pregnant.

Originally published on Live Science.

Can you make up for lost sleep on the weekend?

Not getting enough sleep can be detrimental to your health; many studies even link the lack of Z’s to higher odds of dying during a certain time period. But a new study from Sweden suggests that if you can’t sleep as much as you need during the week, you may be able to make up for it on the weekends.

The researchers found that people ages 65 and under who slept 5 hours or less a night had a 65 percent higher risk of death during the 13-year study period than those who got 6 or 7 hours of sleep a night. But individuals who balanced their short weekday sleep with longer weekend sleep did not appear to have any increased mortality risk.

The findings suggest, in other words, that you may be able to make up for the damaging effects of lost sleep. 

“We can’t really say 100 percent we have proven this, but it’s a reasonable assumption that this is what’s happening,” said lead study author Torbjörn Åkerstedt, a professor of behavioral medicine at Stockholm University in Sweden.

The study was published today (May 23) in the Journal of Sleep Research.

Previous studies looking at sleep deprivation and mortality risk often asked participants about their “usual” sleep duration, which is often interpreted as one’s weekday sleep schedule. But “we suspected that might not be the whole story,” Åkerstedt told Live Science.

In the study, Åkerstedt and his colleagues gathered the data of more than 38,000 adults, collected in a medical survey in Sweden in 1997. In the survey, the participants answered two questions about their sleep duration, on weeknights and on days off.

The team then tracked the participants for up to 13 years, using the country’s national death register, and controlled for factors that can contribute to health or mortality risk, such as gender, body mass index and smoking.

Just as previous studies have shown, sleep duration had a U-shape relationship with mortality risk. In other words, both too much and too little sleep were linked to risk of death during the study period. Like people who slept less than 5 hours a night, people who consistently slept 8 or more hours fared worse than those who slept 6 or 7 hours a night.

Short sleep duration has been linked to numerous health problems, including stroke, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, hypertension and obesity, all of which increase the risk of death. But the link between long sleep duration and mortality risk is more mysterious, and may be driven by a third factor, such as an underlying health problem that is not measurable, Åkerstedt said.

“With long sleep we don’t have a good explanation. We think there has to be something going that has to do with higher need for sleep and is not healthy,” he said. In other words, an underlying health problem may be the reason a person is sleeping too much.

The study also found that the link between sleep patterns and mortality disappeared for those ages 65 or older. “At that age, people get the sleep they need, whereas for a 30- or 40-year-old, there’s often a huge discrepancy between the sleep they need and what they actually get,” Åkerstedt said.

Although the consequences of this discrepancy can be mitigated with a weekend sleep-in, there may be a limit. Studies have found that sleep deprivation induces physiological changes, such as loss of neurons and alterations in brain connectivity, that could be potentially long term.

In addition, losing just 1 hour of sleep may have different effects on the body than losing several hours. “You are much more hit by an all-nighter than a half-nighter,” Åkerstedt said.

Original article on Live Science.

Connecticut surgeon saves, adopts baby born with rare birth defect

Now the surgeon-in-chief at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Dr. Christine Finck has performed countless operations. But it was one procedure she performed nearly 13 years ago that changed her life forever.

In 2006, Finck, an attending physician at a children’s hospital in Philadelphia at the time, received a call late one snowy, February night.

“I wiped the sleep from my eyes and listened to the neonatal intensivist tell me about a premature baby being born at another hospital with gastroschisis,” she recalled in a blog post.  

Gastroschisis is a rare condition where a baby is born with its intestines outside of its body. Just over 1,800 cases occur each year in the U.S., according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I was struck by the small peanut that greeted me,” she wrote, adding that she learned the baby’s name was Isabelle.

From there, Isabelle remained in Finck’s care as the young girl underwent many surgeries. Finck described the first year of Isabelle’s life as “extremely rough.”

“She was on intravenous nutrition and fought many infections. I was her primary surgeon and I would take care of her every day. I would always end my visit by holding her tiny hand,” she recalled.

Finally, a few months later, Isabelle was ready to be discharged from the hospital, though she still had a feeding tube in her stomach and a “big IV line under her collar bone.”

It was around that same time Isabelle’s biological mom informed Finck she would not be able to adequately care for her. 

“She shyly stated that she just could not keep her. There was no family that could help,” Finck continued, describing the night the baby’s mother approached her.

“I can take her,” Finck recalled blurting out in response.

Surprising herself by her quick reaction, she immediately called her husband, John. He didn’t hesitate to “yes” either, she recalled. 

“I think watching her frail but tough spirit made me just feel a special connection with her,” Finck told Fox 61, describing her decision to take Isabelle home.  

All these years later, Isabelle, now in seventh grade, told the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center Foundation she is “glad [her] mom was [her] surgeon because she could take the best care of me.”

“She’s kind and sweet, she helps me with my homework and always looks forward to playing with me,” Madeline, Isabelle’s 9-year-old sister, told the foundation.

Hallmark chose to feature Finck’s story in its campaign this month. Finck, who also has a son named John Michael, told the news station she hopes the campaign “raises awareness of adoption and how positive that can be, not only for a family, but for kids.”

“It’s not uncommon that on a daily basis that I see children that my heart goes out to,” she added. “I wish I could help everybody.”

Madeline Farber is a Reporter for Fox News. You can follow her on Twitter @MaddieFarberUDK.

FDA warns teething medicines unsafe, wants them off shelves

Federal health officials warned parents Wednesday about the dangers of teething remedies that contain a popular numbing ingredient and asked manufacturers to stop selling their products intended for babies and toddlers.

The Food and Drug Administration said that various gels and creams containing the drug benzocaine can cause rare but deadly side effects in children, especially those 2 years and younger.

The agency has been warning about the products for a decade but said reports of illnesses and deaths have continued. Now, it wants teething products off the market, noting there is little evidence they actually work.

“We urge parents, caregivers and retailers who sell them to heed our warnings and not use over-the-counter products containing benzocaine for teething pain,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, in a statement.

One major manufacturer, Church and Dwight Co. Inc., said Wednesday it would discontinue its four Orajel teething brands, including Baby Orajel and Orajel Medicated Teething Swabs.

The FDA said it will take legal action against other companies that don’t voluntarily comply as soon as possible.


Benzocaine is also used in popular over-the-counter products for toothaches and cold sores in adults, including Orajel and Anbesol and generic drugstore brands. Products for adults can remain on the market but the FDA wants companies to add new warnings. Church and Dwight will continue to sell its other Orajel products, the company said in a statement.

Benzocaine can cause a rare blood condition linked to potentially deadly breathing problems. The pain-relieving ingredient can interfere with an oxygen-carrying protein in the blood. Symptoms include shortness of breath, headache and rapid heart rate.

The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend teething creams because they usually wash out of the baby’s mouth within minutes. Instead, the group recommends giving babies teething rings or simply massaging their gums to relieve pain.

The FDA issued warnings about the teething products in 2006, 2011 and 2014, but it did not call for their removal from the market. Officials reviewed 119 cases of the blood disorder linked to benzocaine between 2009 and 2017, including four deaths, according to the FDA.

Wednesday’s action comes more than four years after the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen petitioned the FDA to stop sales of teething products. The agency faced a deadline next week after Public Citizen sued the FDA to force a response to the petition.

Banned pregnancy drug tied to ADHD generations later

A pregnancy drug banned decades ago may have side effects that linger for generations. Grandchildren of women who took it have an increased risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a new study suggests.

The drug, a synthetic estrogen known as diethylstilbestrol (DES), was designed to prevent pregnancy complications like miscarriage and preterm delivery. As many as 10 million U.S. women may have used the drug between 1938 and 1971, when it was banned after being linked to vaginal cancers in daughters of women who used it.

Now, a new study suggests that grandchildren of women how took DES during pregnancy are 36 percent more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than other kids.


And when women took DES during the first trimester of pregnancy, their grandchildren had 63 percent higher odds of developing ADHD, researchers report in JAMA Pediatrics.

“An exposure during pregnancy has the potential to impact multiple generations if the fetus is female, because the oocytes (aka egg cells) that will develop into the grandchildren of the pregnant woman grow while their mother is in utero,” said lead study author Marianthi-Anna Kioumourtzoglou of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York City.

“Use of DES during pregnancy or other endocrine disrupting chemicals could thus directly impact the third generation, leading to neurodevelopmental disorders, such as ADHD,” Kioumourtzoglou said by email.

Chemicals known as endocrine disruptors can interfere with the body’s endocrine, or hormone, system and produce negative developmental, reproductive, neurological and immune effects. These chemicals have been used to make a wide variety of consumer products over the years, including baby bottles, metal food cans, flame retardants, detergents, pesticides and cosmetics.

A range of health problems including autism, ADHD, obesity, diabetes, heart and vascular disorders, and endometriosis have been linked to exposure to endocrine disruptors.


DES in particular has been linked to delays in regular menstrual cycles for granddaughters of women who used the drug during pregnancy, researchers note. Grandsons of these women also have an increased risk of hypospadias, an abnormality that occurs when the opening of the urethra doesn’t develop on the tip of the penis and instead forms on the shaft or on the scrotum.

The new findings are drawn from 47,540 women in an ongoing study of U.S. nurses, including 861 women, or 1.8 percent, who used DES while pregnant.

Overall, 7.7 percent of the grandchildren of women who used DES during pregnancy were diagnosed with ADHD, compared with 5.2 percent of other grandchildren in the study. This increased risk of ADHD was similar for male and female grandkids.

The study wasn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove whether or how DES exposure during pregnancy might cause ADHD generations later.

Another limitation of the study is that researchers relied on survey data from one generation – the mothers – to assess DES use in grandmothers and ADHD diagnoses in grandchildren. It’s possible mothers didn’t know or recall whether the grandmothers used DES while they were pregnant, the authors note.

Still, the results add to a growing body of evidence suggesting that exposure to DES and other endocrine disrupting chemicals may have effects that span generations, said Joel Nigg, author of an accompanying editorial and a psychiatry and neuroscience researcher at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland.


“The entire class of hormone/endocrine disrupting medicines and chemicals have been known or suspected to interfere with offspring development for many years,” Nigg said by email.

“What is new here is the demonstration of effects to grandchildren, and the possibility that this reflects an inherited epigenetic effect,” Nigg added. “That widens the sphere of possibilities for how kids’ neurodevelopmental problems originate.”

Even though DES is no longer prescribed, other endocrine disruptors and so-called neurotoxic chemicals that alter fetal development can still get into women’s bodies from pesticides on food, beauty products, and air pollution.

Women may not always be able to avoid exposure, but reading product labels and eating organic fruits and vegetables can help minimize the risk, Nigg advised.

SOURCE: JAMA Pediatrics, online May 21, 2018.

7 Oklahoma firefighters go viral after becoming fathers within months of each other

There appears to be “something in the water” at the Glenpool Fire Department, a wife of one Oklahoma firefighter joked.

In less than a year, seven out of 20 firefighters with the Glenpool Fire Department in Glenpool, Oklahoma became new fathers.

“This is our normal — this is our fire family,” Sarah Hutchinson, whose husband, Dustin, is on the far left posing with their daughter, Henley, told Fox News.

“Getting seven babies to stay happy and still was hectic,” she laughed.

The group waited until the last baby was born to take the photo. There are five girls and two boys. The oldest is 15 months, Hutchinson said, while the youngest is just four weeks.


The youngest baby is four weeks old.

 (Avery Huntsman Dykes)

In one of the photos, the seven new fathers pose proudly with their children, while the babies sit on their fathers’ firefighter jackets.

Hutchinson, who gave birth to her daughter in January, said all seven families are friends.

“Glenpool is not the biggest town; we only have one fire station. I couldn’t survive without the other fire wives,” she said.

One Glenpool firefighter, Mick Whitney, echoed this sentiment.

“All the guys and wives spend time in the station and outside of the station,” he told CBS News. “It’s a little different in our group. We go out fishing, hanging out. It’s a unique dynamic.”

“We all just happen to have kids right under a year. It’s a pretty neat deal,” he added.

Madeline Farber is a Reporter for Fox News. You can follow her on Twitter @MaddieFarberUDK.

5 Connecticut students hospitalized after eating ‘tainted’ cookies

A 15-year-old girl was arrested on Monday when five of her classmates were sent to the hospital after she allegedly gave them cookies laced with a foreign substance.  The teen, who was not identified, was charged with five counts of risk of injury to a minor, Fox 61 reported.


The students, who attend Hamden High School, reportedly believed they were eating “marijuana cookies.” They were allegedly sent to the school nurse after appearing to be on drugs, and then taken to Yale New Haven Hospital out of precaution, but have since been released.

“The students advised the high school administrative staff and police, that prior to becoming ill; they had consumed ‘marijuana cookies,'” police said, according to Fox 61. 

The accused teen is scheduled to appear in juvenile court, reported.

Congo to begin vaccinating against Ebola after new cases in major city

Congo will begin administering an experimental Ebola vaccine Monday in Mbandaka, the northwestern city of 1.2 million where the deadly disease has infected some residents, Congo’s health minister announced.

“The vaccination campaign begins tomorrow, Monday, in Mbandaka, capital of the province. It will target, first, the health staff, the contacts of the sick and the contacts of the contacts,” Minister of Health Oly Ilunga told The Associated Press Sunday.

The death toll of the current Ebola outbreak has risen to 26.

En imagen del sábado 12 de mayo de 2018, personal de salud se colocan trajes de protección mientras se preparan para atender a pacientes en el pabellón de cuarentena para diagnosticar y atender a quienes se presume son pacientes de ébola, en el Hospital de Bikoro, la zona rural donde el brote de ébola fue anunciado la semana pasada, en Congo. (Mark Naftalin/UNICEF via AP)

In this photo taken Monday, May 14, 2018, members of a Red Cross team don protective clothing before heading out to look for suspected victims of Ebola, in Mbandaka, Congo.

 (Mark Naftalin/UNICEF via AP)

Initially, the campaign will target 600 people, mainly medical staff, contacts of suspected cases, and those who have been in contact with the contacts, said Ilunga. Officials are working urgently to prevent the disease from spreading beyond Mbandaka, which lies on the Congo River, a busy traffic corridor, and is an hour’s flight from the capital.

More than 4,000 doses are already in Congo and more are on the way, according to officials. The vaccine is still in the test stages, but it was effective in the West Africa outbreak a few years ago.


A major challenge will be keeping the vaccines cold in this vast, impoverished, tropical country where infrastructure is poor.

Four new cases have been confirmed as Ebola, said the health ministry in a statement released early Sunday. A total of 46 cases of hemorrhagic fever have been reported, including 21 confirmed cases of Ebola, 21 probable and four suspected.

In this photo taken Monday, May 14, 2018, members of a Red Cross team don protective clothing before heading out to look for suspected victims of Ebola, in Mbandaka, Congo. Congo's Ebola outbreak has spread to Mbandaka, a crossroads city of more than 1 million people, in a troubling turn that marks one of the few times the vast, impoverished country has encountered the lethal virus in an urban area. (Karsten Voigt/International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies via AP)

In this photo taken Monday, May 14, 2018, members of a Red Cross team don protective clothing before heading out to look for suspected victims of Ebola, in Mbandaka, Congo.

 ((Karsten Voigt/International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies via AP)

Congo President Joseph Kabila and his Cabinet agreed Saturday to increase funds for the Ebola emergency to more than $4 million. The Cabinet also endorsed the decision to provide free health care in the affected areas and to provide special care to all Ebola victims and their relatives.

The spread of Ebola from a rural area to Mbandaka has raised alarm as Ebola can spread more quickly in urban centers. The fever can cause severe internal bleeding that is often fatal.


The risk of Ebola spreading within Congo is “very high” and the disease could also move into nine neighboring countries, the World Health Organization has warned. The WHO, however, stopped short of declaring the outbreak a global health emergency. WHO said there should not be restrictions to international travel or trade.

While Congo has contained several Ebola outbreaks in the past, all of them were based in remote rural areas. The virus has twice made it to Kinshasa, Congo’s capital of 10 million people, but was effectively contained.

The outbreak was declared more than a week ago in Congo’s remote northwest and its spread has some Congolese worried.

In this photo taken Saturday, May 12, 2018, a health worker wears protective clothing outside an isolation ward to diagnose and treat suspected Ebola patients, at Bikoro Hospital in Bikoro, the rural area where the Ebola outbreak was announced last week, in Congo. Congo's latest Ebola outbreak has now spread to Mbandaka, a city of more than 1 million people, a worrying shift as the deadly virus risks traveling more easily in densely populated areas. (Mark Naftalin/UNICEF via AP)

In this photo taken Saturday, May 12, 2018, a health worker wears protective clothing outside an isolation ward to diagnose and treat suspected Ebola patients, at Bikoro Hospital in Bikoro, the rural area where the Ebola outbreak was announced last week, in Congo.

 (Mark Naftalin/UNICEF via AP)

“Even if it’s not happening here yet, I have to reduce contact with people. May God protect us in any case,” Grace Ekofo, a 23-year-old student in Kinshasa, told AP.

Schools in Mbandaka are implementing preventive measures by instructing students not to greet each other by shaking hands or kissing, said teacher Jean Mopono, 53.

“We pray that this epidemic does not take place here,” Mopono said.

The WHO appears to be moving swiftly to contain this latest epidemic, experts said. The health organization was accused of bungling its response to the earlier West Africa outbreak —the biggest Ebola outbreak in history which resulted in more than 11,000 deaths.

In this photo taken on Sunday, May 13, 2018, a health care worker wears virus protective gear at a treatment center in Bikoro Democratic Republic of Congo. Congo's latest Ebola outbreak has spread to a city of more than 1 million people, a worrying shift as the deadly virus risks traveling more easily in densely populated areas. Two suspected cases of hemorrhagic fever were reported in the Wangata health zones that include Mbandaka, the capital of northwestern Equateur province. The city is about 150 kilometers (93 miles) from Bikoro, the rural area where the outbreak was announced last week, said Congo's Health Minister Oly Ilunga. (AP Photo/John Bompengo)

In this photo taken on Sunday, May 13, 2018, a health care worker wears virus protective gear at a treatment center in Bikoro Democratic Republic of Congo.

 (AP Photo/John Bompengo)

There is “strong reason to believe this situation can be brought under control,” said Robert Steffen, who chaired the WHO expert meeting last week. But without a vigorous response, “the situation is likely to deteriorate significantly,” he said.

This is Congo’s ninth Ebola outbreak since 1976, when the disease was first identified. The virus is initially transmitted to people from wild animals, including bats and monkeys. It is spread via contact with bodily fluids of those infected.

There is no specific treatment for Ebola. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and at times internal and external bleeding. The virus can be fatal in up to 90 percent of cases, depending on the strain.

New tech ‘rewires’ brain to help stroke patients regain use of their arms

Ken Meeks had a stroke following a serious car accident.

His left arm and leg haven’t been the same since.

The Ohio resident is hoping a device being studied in a new clinical trial will help return some function to his arm.

Meeks is taking part in the trial at the Neurological Institute at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center. It’s one of the first hospitals in the world to try out an experimental treatment to help people recover from stroke.

Vivistim therapy involves the use of a neurotransmitter implanted just below the skin on the chest in a minimally invasive outpatient surgery.

The device is connected to the vagus nerve in the neck. The vagus nerve transmits signals to the brain, telling it what and when to learn.

The purpose of the device is to help “rewire” circuits in the brain that control motor functions.

Vagus nerve stimulation has been used to treat other conditions, including epilepsy and depression.

For this study, the device is being used along with rehabilitative therapy to see if the combination will help improve upper limb movement following a stroke.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 800,000 people in the United States have a stroke every year.

Stroke is one of the top causes of serious long-term disability.

Once the damage has been done, it takes a lot of work to make even small gains.

For people like Meeks, it’s worth trying something new.

How nerve stimulation works

Dr. Marcie Bockbrader is a research physiatrist for the Neurological Institute at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center and a principal investigator for the trial.

The device may be promising, but it won’t be a quick fix.

Bockbrader notes that it doesn’t work on its own.


“It’s a device that helps the brain get into a state where it can benefit more from therapy. There’s a button that the therapist presses to activate the device as participants do therapy. The intent of the pulse is much like a heart pacer — to pace the brain. It’s about half a second of stimulation. We think that this very brief pulse is like a ‘wake up and pay attention’ to the brain to use what happens next to help relearn how to use a paralyzed limb,” she explained.

Bockbrader says this trial is focusing on the upper limbs in part because people need their hands to take care of themselves.

“If you can use your hands, you can do a lot of what you need to do with a wheelchair. If you can’t use your hands, you need people around to help more,” she said.

Bockbrader says some patients may feel a buzzing or tingling sensation from the stimulation. Others feel a hoarseness or lump in the throat when trying to swallow.

“There may be some discomfort from having the stimulation. If a patient doesn’t like that, we turn the intensity down. So, we’re still delivering pulses, but they can’t feel it,” she said.


The vagus nerve could potentially stimulate the muscles that help with swallowing. For that reason, the trial isn’t currently enrolling people who have difficulty swallowing.

“But it’s possible this therapy could eventually be used to help people who have trouble swallowing. That’s something that can be studied down the line after the device is shown to be safe and effective in this group of people,” Bockbrader added.

The long road back from stroke

Meeks, 63, had his stroke in summer 2016.

He’d already been through a lot of therapy before joining the trial.

“When I left the hospital, my left arm and fingers were nearly completely paralyzed. By that, I mean it pretty much hung limp at my side. I had to move it with my right hand,” he told Healthline.


At first, much of his therapy involved just moving the hand and fingers in any way possible. As he progressed, he worked on trying to move small objects and using video games.

“Then my wife found this study on the internet, so I looked at it, signed up, and became patient number one at OSU,” he said.

He’s been hard at work for months now.

For the first six weeks, he had inpatient therapy for two hours a day, three days a week.

He’s currently in a one-month in-home rehabilitation phase. This involves a half hour of therapy every day.

Even home therapy isn’t easy, says Meeks.

“It’s hard enough to get up in the morning and go through this tedious process of getting dressed and getting a cup of coffee. Then to do therapy is difficult. More mentally than physically. You do repetitive things — gross motor movement, something for the fingers, then something for the wrist. Repetitiveness is the key to all of this,” he said.

Although he hasn’t felt any real change in his daily life, he’s hopeful and says he’s scoring better on tests.

“Neuroplasticity is a very slow process. The fact that I don’t see a change right now is, I don’t think, unexpected,” he said.

Meeks hasn’t had any side effects from the device aside from some discomfort right after the surgery.

Clinical trial still recruiting

Thirteen institutions in the United States, plus five in the United Kingdom, are taking part in this trial. And they’re still seeking participants.

“We’re looking at people in the chronic phase of stroke because it gives them the chance to recover naturally as much as possible,” Bockbrader said.

The typical participant is about nine months out from a stroke and has done all the therapies they’re eligible for.

“But we know the potential to improve is still there, though at a slower rate. This ability to improve lasts for years, so we’re accepting patients 10 years out from a stroke. It’s a fairly wide window,” she said.


To really be able to tell how much and whether the device is helping, the researchers are choosing a middle-of-the-road impaired population. This includes people who can flex and extend the wrist and move the thumb, but can’t use their hands the way they should for daily living.

“This suggests to us that connections between the arm and the brain are still there but not working at 100 percent efficiency. There’s still room for improvement. If the device is found to be effective, we can start looking at whether it can be beneficial for those more severely affected by stroke. It’s early on in the evaluation process,” Bockbrader said.

Recruitment will probably continue for the next two years.

Bockbrader says it’s a complicated three-phase study design. The initial two phases can last up to a year and a half.

“But if people choose to, we will keep the stimulator in and follow them yearly after that. There’s no end in sight for people who want to keep the stimulator in place and feel it’s helping. If they don’t, removal is a short outpatient surgery,” she said.

Interested stroke survivors can contact the recruitment office of the nearest participating institution.

“Because it’s fairly intense therapy in the clinic for the first six weeks, it’s helpful if they live nearby one of the study centers,” Bockbrader said.

If accepted, participants aren’t responsible for study-related expenses. The study is sponsored by MicroTransponder Inc., developer of the Vivistim device.

Moving forward

The trial is ongoing and double-blind, so Meeks doesn’t know yet if he’s in the control group or not.

But he doesn’t hesitate to recommend the study to others dealing with the aftermath of stroke.

“First of all, it will probably help you, even if only from the therapy itself. And from an altruistic point of view, anything that moves the science forward will not only help you in the long run, but will help somebody else,” he said.

And he has some other advice for stroke patients.

“Use anything you can find in your environment that helps you keep moving forward. If you keep moving, then you’ll keep making progress, even if it’s small, and you won’t backslide,” he said.

Bockbrader believes that regardless of where someone is in recovery after a stroke, there’s always potential to get better.

“There’s this idea that you’ve reached a maximum level of function after certain therapies or a certain amount of time. The reality is that’s probably not true. To get better, people often have to go off the beaten track to get an opportunity to boost their potential. That’s one of the things I like about studies like this. It’s one of the ways you can do that,” she said.

She told Healthline that after a stroke, some of the brain’s connections that are important to movement get disconnected or destroyed. Many people have difficulty using their hands after a stroke.

This article first appeared on

Colorado brain cancer patient, 4, hits home run during college baseball game

A 4-year-old fighting brain cancer hit a home run on Saturday, thanks to baseball players with the Air Force Academy and the University of New Mexico.

Lio Ortega, who has been diagnosed with a form of brain cancer called medulloblastoma, threw a ceremonial first pitch and hit a home run ahead of the May 12 game between the Air Force Academy and the University of New Mexico Lobos, Fox 13 reported.

The game took place at the Air Force Academy, located just north of Colorado Springs.

Ortega’s father, Manuel, told ABC News the experience was especially memorable for his son because “he loves baseball.”

“The hardest thing for us is… how do we maximize his time to give him great experiences? This was one of those [experiences] because he loves baseball,” Manuel said. “He plays on a little league team, he loves the big kids, he loves the college kids. He wants to be one of them.”

Manuel, who once played baseball for New Mexico’s coach, Ray Birmingham, also told ABC News Ortega is a big Lobos fan.

“Everybody was crying, everybody was laughing. It was just overwhelming,” Manuel told the television network. “[Ortega] had a great time and as you could see, it was a hoot. When he gets to do things like this, it makes him happy because he’s with his family.”

Madeline Farber is a Reporter for Fox News. You can follow her on Twitter @MaddieFarberUDK.